The Guardian: Coincidence or corruption? The case of Serbia’s bouncing lottery ball 21

Serbian viewers cry foul after one of the numbers in the lottery’s winning combination appears on TV screens before it was actually drawn

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Serbian viewers cry foul after one of the numbers in thelottery’s winning combination ..

The head of Serbia’s national lottery has resigned after a television graphic during this week’s draw appeared to predict a winning number.

The incident triggered outrage and dominated front-pages in the Balkan country, where Serbs had hoped the lottery was above the corruption that permeates much of national life.

Police said they have questioned six people during an investigation into whether the winning combination had been set up in advance.

The affair erupted when on the Tuesday evening live broadcast one of the numbers in the winning combination appeared on TV screens before it was actually drawn.

Many Serbs, including pensioners and the jobless for whom the lottery is their one hope of prosperity, watched aghast as the fourth of five balls drawn by the automatic lottery machine came out as 27, but appeared on the TV graphic as 21. The next ball drawn was 21.

The Serbian prime minister, Aleksandar Vucic, told a news conference: “If there was any criminal activity these people will answer to the law. The path to prison is very short.“

The lottery company, which is state-run, said the draw would stand, blaming a technical error caused by the person who filled out the television graphic. One lottery executive said it was “pure coincidence” that the graphic would mistakenly call the No 21 ball, only for it then to emerge as the next number.

State Lottery Serbia, which has long been run by political appointees, said in a statement that director Aleksandar Vulovic had resigned “on moral grounds”, but that he maintained the draw was completely regular

Coincidence or corruption? The case of Serbia’s bouncing lottery ball 21 | World news | The Guardian.

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